Six Wags Over Texas
Registered Harlequin Sheep | Babydoll Southdown Sheep
Not EVERYTHING is Bigger in Texas
It's a popular myth that everything is bigger in Texas. For the most part it's true. Texans do things in a big way from the size of our highways to the length of Texas Longhorn cattle horns. As a transplanted Connecticut Yankee, I decided that I was going to look for something "little" to raise on our 25 acre "ranchette". I didn't even know there was a word for a smaller rural property. It only seemed right that a small "ranchette" would be home to a small breed of sheep for what was at the time our weekend home. And so we built a small sheep farm.
Why Choose Sheep?
Initially we were looking for livestock for our new hobby farm to maintain an agriculture exemption to help lower land taxes. When we saw an article in "Acreage" magazine on small, sheep with permanent "smiles" we were sold!. First off they are small, 23" maximum at the shoulder meant that either of us could handle them easily alone. Their smiles gave them a quirky and endearing look. Babydolll Southdown sheep are also known as "teddy bear" sheep. In wool, they look like little stuffed animals.
Buying Babydoll Southdown Sheep
After several weeks of research, we were sure that Babydoll sheep fit our needs. Now we needed to find Babydoll sheep for sale. After some searching we found a person with a small flock looking to sell her adult sheep. The were all registered Olde English Babydoll Southdown sheep and one lamb from that year. The price seemed right and we felt it was a good idea to keep an existing group together.
What's Special About Babydoll Southdown Sheep?
Babydoll sheep are very hardy and their wool along with the lanolin from their skin protects them from the weather. This ewe lamb is wearing a dog sweater as extra protection from the harsh winter weather.
Once lambs are a couple of weeks old, they usually can handle the cold and wet. You'll never see a Babydoll Southdown sheep volunteer to get wet though - seems they cry during a drizzle!
According to NABSSAR, the Babydoll sheep registry, Babydoll wool should be: "should be fine, tight and dense with medium to medium-fine soft and springy crimp."
Another reason for purchasing miniature Babydoll Southdown sheep is that they are "easy keepers" which means they fully utilize what they eat. They do well in small spaces and I have even placed twins in downtown Dallas where the people had a huge yard and had everything built to make them happy - fencing, shelter and a private area where they could relax away from the kids. Yes, sheep are allowed in Dallas city limits!
- "Hobby farming" is on the rise in the US as a means to break from the "rat race" of everyday life.
- Sheep provide a welcome relief from a good portion of property taxes when you have the intent to breed and sell them or their products.
- Many health benefits are realized by working with animals - lower blood pressure is a benefit of being near these peaceful creatures
- Enjoy natural workouts while tending to your sheep!
Establishing a "hobby farm" was the best decision of my life. After 10 years on the road as an IT consultant I have finally found my true purpose in life. Sheep allow me to nuture, learn the scientific and practical aspects of farming and meet people from many walks of life. There's nothing better than seeing my husband Chuck relax from the stress of running our business on the weekends with a lamb walking at his side.
Jill Christopher, Six Wags Over Texas
Caring for Sheep Basics
Sheep need a few things in place to keep them safe and healthy. The items listed below are based on my experiences only.
- Fencing - at least 48" high
- Shelter - at least 3 sided, or a full barn stall
- Predator protection: we have 2 Great Pyrenees who were rescues
- Clean water source
- Vet with sheep experience
- Hay/Quality food source to supplement any grass they may have access to
- Shearer/Hoof care